Hotels in Germany: our recent experience

On a recent trip to Germany we decided to stay near the station in Berlin on day one as we were heading by train to Leipzig the following morning. We figured it would be easier.

The Steingenberger is a new addition to the five star chain. Unfortunately I can’t report on the more standard rooms as we were upgraded to a Junior Suite. It was more than spacious, including a lounge area, desk area, a large lobby, a separate dressing area and a bathroom in which the toilet could be closed off. The shower was walk in. The outside walls of thew suite were completely glass. Don’t get excited about that, the view we had was of train tracks and offices but it nonetheless gave a feeling of light and openness. We felt spoilt.

We did not try any of the food/beverage possibilities here. The foyer area is a design disaster. I simply don’t understand the its cold lack of comfort which was positively alienating. It put us off utilising the area. But the staff were great, no lack of welcome in that regard.

As far as I can see, you do not stay at this hotel because of the area, you stay because it is just outside the station.

This hotel had one big negative for me. The ‘king-sized bed’ was not a large bed at all. It was two smaller beds pushed together, with two sets of covers even. Seriously? Do German people hate each other that much? It is plain uncomfortable unless you really don’t want to be near each other. But in that case, why are the beds together at all? Why not at separate ends of the room?

This is a recurring problem in Germany (and I discover in other parts of Europe). It is poor form that hotels provide no warning that one bed does not mean one bed. This issue followed us to Leipzig.

There we stayed at The Westin in a ‘Grand Deluxe’ room because I’m a sucker for views. Again we found, despite the pictures on their site indicating one bed with one set of bed coverings, we were in two small beds joined together with separate doonas. Ugggh. I hate this! It is a big impersonal hotel, very full while we were there. It managed a huge breakfast area well – breakfast was, indeed, quite good by European standards. We did think we might try the bar-with-a-view, but we were told it was full that evening. The bathroom was okay, towels good. But nothing about this hotel made me think if I were ever in Leipzig again, that this is where I would stay. I’d be digging around for better. In fact, having eaten a couple of times at the Hotel Fürstenhof, I’d be tempted by it ahead of anything else I saw in Leipzig.

The Westin had 436 rooms and the Sofitel 92. You can really tell from the moment you step in. After the size and nature of The Westin, it was a pleasure to spend a couple of nights next at The Sofitel in Berlin – I mean the one at Gendarmenmarkt. Are you already guessing what made us most excited about our room? It wasn’t the stunning mod design, the seating area, the groovy lighting, the walkin shower. Not even the coffee machine….

Yes, ladies and gentlemen. We’d finally struck something better than gold. A hotel room with one bed in it. One proper bed with the one mattress, the one set of linen, the one cover. Oh, it was a loverly bed on which we had a loverly time. Sleeping. I do mean sleeping.

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